Mazda on Thursday said it would hike the annual output of its mainstay 1.8- to 2.3-litre MZR engines to 705,000 units in January from the current 650,000 units at its Hiroshima Prefecture plant to meet brisk car demand in major markets of the world.

According to Kyodo News, the carmaker said the decision was made in view of strong sales in particular of the Mazda 3 and the MX-5 roadster in Europe and North America. The company is also increasing engine production also because of the scheduled release of the CX-7 SUV crossover in the United States next spring and the redesigned MPV in Japan in February.

The engine, which was first rolled out this May when the updated 6 car hit the market, now powers roughly 75% of all Mazda vehicles made in Japan, the news agency noted.